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I am a complete newb!

By jneilson ·
I started my current job a year ago after being a mechanical design contactor for a few years. When I took this job they offered a nice salary, good benefits, etc.. Recently I've been informed that I should look into taking over the IT duties also. It's a really small company with about 20 computers, two servers, some printers, two lasers and other networked pieces of manufacturing equipment. Right now the IT duties are farmed out to a local company that can be difficult at times.
Anyone have any recommendation for someone in my situation? Any books to read? Web sites to visit? A lot of what I read here about networks and network administration goes right over my head.

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More info

by Maevinn In reply to I am a complete newb!

Can you tell us what kinds of things you'll be handling? Setting up servers, adding new printers, installing new machines, patches, software? What does the contract with the local company cover?

And...I hope they're going to pay you more for doing more work!

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Everything seems fairly simple

by jneilson In reply to More info

The two servers are win2003sbs machines plus most of the users seem to know what their doing as far as fixing things on their machines. We don't use any customized application, except our CAD database software, but I know to admin that. The network is kind of a mess, we have two domains, one is the corporate domain and one is engineering. I understand the engineering domain much better than the corporate domain. The office manager has mentioned bringing the company website inhouse. As for pay I can't complain, I'm hourly and get OT and lots of it at times. At my last review the president told me I was doing a great job with everything so I'm hoping to keep things going smoothly.

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... Not so simple in "real" case

by unni_kcpm In reply to Everything seems fairly s ...

Dear Mr.Neilson,

One thing first, whether it's the President or CEO or anybody else, to boost "employee morale", they tell all sorts of "THINGS", to you or to any employee as well. Because they want to "GET THE THINGS DONE", That's SIMPLE !

Rest, the few tips below can be handy, I suppose:

1. Get the things in Writing about the 'WORK(s)'
you are supposed to do in the IT area.
2. If you are supposed to handle h/w & s/w
installations, as a newbie, you "might"
require to join "part-time" classes that can
contain (1) Hardware installation /
troubleshooting include PC maintence, OS
configuration and likes etc.
3. Other than "tailor-made" books available you
can a "treasure(s)" on any specific subject
available on the Internet provided you have
time to sit and do some R&amp
over the Net.
4. As regards technological phrases, jargons and
other tech. related words are concerned, all
and whatever exists can be found in
5. Last but not the least, make "Network" among
friends who are in the IT field which will
come handy that any other book that can offer
practical help.

All the very best !

Warm Regards

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Fortunately I know how handle most hardware problems

by jneilson In reply to ... Not so simple in "rea ...

So far I've had a replace the motherboard in one servers, rebuilt a D size plotter and replace a couple of power supplies and install some video cards. I also figured out how to setup users for the domains, permissions, and other basic network admin task. My next task will be to get some books on Windows 2003 SBS. Thanks for the reponses.

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Good work so far

by Bad Boys Drive Audi In reply to Fortunately I know how ha ...

Sounds like you're technically capable of handling the job at hand. You also exhibit the ability to say "I don't know, but I can find out". You will do just fine.

Seriously, Google and discussion boards are going to be your best friends, and most participants will be willing to help you out. I know how much I relied on fellow techies during my early days, and I'm more than happy to repay my debt.

~ Audi

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Start looking for a new job...

by JAMES.MACAULAY In reply to ... Not so simple in "rea ...

If this does come to pass, start looking for a new job. It sounds like they want to load up on you for no extra money. If you're already in over your head, they'll chuck you as soon as they realize an expensive mistake was made, and then they'll bring in some 20 year old to do the whole thing for less money.

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I'll watch out for myself.

by jneilson In reply to Start looking for a new j ...

Did I mention I get paid OT? I also manage the Intralink 8/CAD database and manage designs for a couple of different customers too. The only salaried guys in the place are the president and the VP and their paid off a draw.

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Security is Going to Be Job #1

by Bad Boys Drive Audi In reply to Everything seems fairly s ...

Since you have Windows machines, make sure that all machines are regularly updated with the latest critical updates from Microsoft. I'm going to assume that you use Norton for anit-virus (A/V), but even if you don't, you want to make sure your A/V package is kept up to date on all machines.

Another thing, which may already be done, is to back up those machines. I suspect that you have periodic backups on the servers, but maybe or maybe not on the desktops. For me, I ghost my personal laptop as well as my corporate laptop. The corporate machine is ghosted when they hand it to me, but I'm a developer and consequently install all types of software on my machine to evaluate or meddle with, and sometimes having that immediate ghost image that I can go back to is very, very nice.

Finally, addressing the web site hosting issue. Things should be fairly straight-forward with the win2003 server running IIS, but you'll want to nail down a few things.

1. You'll need to get your current domain name pointing to the IP address of the server. You'll also want to make sure that the IP address is static, meaning that it doesn't change every few hours. Since this is a business, I wouldn't suspect that is the case, but you never know. I know some people with really small businesses that run a server off of a high speed cable modem, and have to check/update their IP address settings every so often.

1a. Honestly, you'll actually want to have a firewall/router, and have the router shield the server and allow internet traffic (port 80) be forwarded on to the internal IP address of the server. Again, security issue. Basically what happens is the router has an external and internal IP address. Your domain name points to the external IP.

When a person browses your site, the request is sent to the router, which then forwards that request to the internal IP address of the server in your network. The request is filled, and returns along that same link.

2. What's your bandwidth situation? How much traffic hits the company's web site? If there aren't many daily hits, and the web site is fairly simple HTML, then your network should be able to handle it. If, on the other hand, you have 800,000 daily hits and the web site is of the dynamic nature, you're better off having some ISP host it.

3. How often does the web site change? Is it a once and done type of thing, or are you be responsible for constantly modifying it?

4. Again, is it a dynamic (database driven, content always changing based on some list of variables) or is it static (content never changes no matter what)? If the site is fairly static, then you'll only need to know basic HTML, and that's fairly easy to pick up. There are inexpensive books that your can read, but I'd suggest going to your friendly neighborhood Google, and finding free web sites with tutorials and documentation. Here are a few good ones to start with: (tutorials start at the middle of the page)

Hope this helps.

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Have you thought about classes?

by NI70 In reply to I am a complete newb!

Look into classes at your local college or other training centers. I'd also suggest looking into taking a Network+ training course or buying some Network+ books, as to what books I'm not sure. I'm kind of in a hurry to get back to work. Also you may want to look into MCSA or MCSE courses or books.

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I'll get some Network+ books

by jneilson In reply to Have you thought about cl ...

I don't have any time to take classes, especially since network admin is a secondary job for me.

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